The Good, The Bad, The Unusual...
Part3: THE GOLDEN AGE
Escalation happened slowly, but with growing force.
Those secret societies that had loaned their might to the first of the costumed heroes during the War began to doubt their own policies of remaining secret in a world clearly aware of powered individuals.
Some began to imbue and train even more good men and women in their varied arts, while some stepped into costume themselves: banished alien lords, weird scientists, archmagi, and things that were not remotely human stepped into the public eye alongside their enhanced protégés.
Meanwhile, the baby boom had begun, and powered individuals had not been any more complacent than their peers.
By the 1960s, the second generation of open metahumans was apparent, and more would follow.
Some claimed that even direct descent from a metahuman was not required to display powers, though it was difficult to research this fact due to the Lehrman Act.
However, it did seem that new metahumans were arising throughout the world in a frequency unexplainable by simple genetics, and many began to suspect, in the era of the atom, that nuclear and microwave radiation, perhaps combined with profligate power use by existing heroes and villains, had created a self-propagating incidence of metahumanity.
Yet, tied to the belief that humanity has reached its next stage was the fear that those that were not blessed with the transition would be left behind.
Many metahumans displayed not only powers beyond what was previously thought possible, but wielded amazing technology far beyond the science of the day. Something about the weird inventions of the metahuman intellect was flawed, however: each such device worked along principles at right angles to commonly accepted science. In order to transcend the limits of modern technology, nearly every intellect beyond humanity seemed to skip steps required for mundane comprehension.
The wonders of weird tech were, in fact, unable to be maintained or reproduced by any but their original inventors and mad scientists of a similar bent, and mass production was simply out of the question for all but the simplest of gadgets.
Thus, in a world where battles between colorful titans became a more and more commonplace theatre, those not gifted by superpowers and reaping no apparent rewards from them began to see metahumans not with wonder but as an inconvenience, or even a curse.
All that remained was some single rallying event to push public opinion to its tipping point.